Amman directly controls about 60 per cent of JPMC. The mandate is understood to call for the sale of a 40 per cent stake and management control of the company, which holds a monopoly over exploration, mining and marketing of phosphates in the kingdom and is the world’s sixth biggest producer of the mineral.

The sale is an important plank of the government’s privatisation programme and has been on the drawing board for many years. HSBC also advised on the divestment of state-owned Jordan Investment Company’s 26 per cent stake in Arab Potash Companyto Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan in late 2003 (MEED 17:10:03).